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Report: Windows 10's Mandatory Updates Are Breaking Data Caps

| 17 Aug 2015 20:50
Windows 10 review

Microsoft's Windows 10 might be more secure with automatic updates, but could be tearing through data caps at the same time.

Windows 10 is finally here, and most customers seem to be enjoying it - unless they live in a remote location with limited internet access. In that case, they could paying astronomical internet bills, thanks to mandatory updates which tear through data caps. Reports are already coming in from customers with limited options for internet access and given how new Windows 10 is, it's entirely possible anyone with higher caps will soon feel the sting.

For now, let's start with Maureen Hilyard, who lives in the Cook Islands. Hilyard claims her latest internet bill came to roughly $400 USD in one month, thanks largely to Windows 10's automatic updates. While the full extent of the situation is unclear, consumer group EFA is already expressing concerns and predicts more complaints to follow.

"In this context, where internet access is both painfully slow and seriously expensive, these forced updates are almost literally forcing people off the internet and are resulting in massive excess data charges," EFA Executive Officer Jon Lawrence explained.

On the one hand, Microsoft has a good reason to default to automatic updates: Online security. Allowing users to disable updates created an internet filled with bots and security holes that were fairly easy to exploit. But on an international scale, internet access and rates aren't universal enough to let consumers keep up with them.

And it's not just OS patches that are automatic. There are also reports of Windows 10 apps being automatically updated with no option to disable them. So not only are you downloading OS updates, you're also constantly downloading fixes for any Windows Store software you've installed. Which might be more secure, but the average customer is probably unaware what Windows 10 is even doing. Meanwhile, Microsoft has confirmed that it uses peer-to-peer downloads for its automatic updates, potentially eating into bandwidth even further.

The good news is Windows 10 has a "metered connection" option that can be enabled from your Wi-Fi settings, turning off the automatic download for a notification. (That said, the option doesn't work if you're running the internet from an Ethernet connection.) Windows 10 also has a temporary fix to prevent OS or driver updates from being installed. But considering most customers have barely used Windows 10 for a month, we shouldn't be surprised if this becomes a bigger issue going forward.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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